6. VR-ED

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Virtual reality is no longer just for video gaming.

The technology’s explosive use and effectiveness in educational and training settings will become so pervasive in 2017 that a foundation will be laid to use VR learning models not only in higher education and advanced training settings, but in primary education.

The fast-evolving VR-ED trend is bolstered by a growing record of success in health care, security, science, technical skills and other training.

What’s emerging? A set of assets supporting VR-ED that appeals to educators, investors, political leaders, home-schooling advocates, property taxpayers who foot ever-increasing school-tax burdens and others.

The technology is proving cost-effective. It’s adaptable to different learning needs and environments. It’s far more accommodating of new teaching techniques and curriculum changes. And it can connect students with the most updated, effective teaching criteria from across the globe.

Works for med students


If advanced medical students can learn to treat trauma patients in a simulated VR setting, helping sixth-graders learn math equations or world history shouldn’t be too challenging.

In fact, several new studies and testing models gained momentum in 2016. They’ll help shape the direction of VR-ED in lower grade settings.

Washington Leadership Academy, a Washington, D.C.-based charter school, is one such incubator for VR-ED in primary grades. A virtual-reality teaching curriculum is being tested in a variety of settings, including a VR-ED chemistry lab for ninth-graders.

This, and other examples, are emerging across the globe, taking the ideas of VR-ED from higher education and applying them to primary education.

The merging of Big Data and advances in chip technology have set the stage for an explosion of VR learning at all levels. With Big Data’s boundless ability to find and deliver facts, charts, videos, infographics, statistics, official records and virtually anything else digitally stored, computer programs can leverage that information to learn from it
and power VR programs.

TREND FORECAST: Dismantling public and other monolithic education systems in the US and globally is a task that moves at the speed of glaciers. But VR-ED breaks through in 2017 as a feasible, cost-effective, high-reward, low-risk approach to education.

The process of integrating VR-ED into aspects of traditional education is hot – and it’s beginning to happen. Further, as data show increasingly positive metrics on the use of VR-ED, a growing number of community, political and business leaders will become advocates. President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Department of Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, for example, is a strong advocate of home schooling, where VR-ED has strong potential and growing support.

While this trend continues to grow, it’s still in its infancy. And as new applications for VR technology emerge, investors will continue to profit. While uses now are most prevalent in specific skills training and higher-education areas, especially in medical arenas, the future of education on all levels from kindergarten through doctoral studies is virtual.